GPs in Dorset have told Pulse they received an email from their CCG advising them to source their own PPE as the Covid-19 crisis continues.
This comes a few days after the deputy chief medical officer stated that the country had an adequate supply of PPE and that the problems relating to PPE had been resolved, and as NHS England said on Monday this week that ‘every GP practice’ has now received a delivery of PPE.
Jane Dawes, a managing partner at Blackmore Vale Surgery in North Dorset, which has over 27 000 patients, took to Twitter to express her concerns.
She stated: ‘Email today from our CCG to say that we are not going to receive the PPE we need for primary care. We have been told to source our own.’
Dr Simone Yule, a GP partner at the practice, told Pulse that the situation is causing a lot of anxiety.
She said: ‘At the moment it’s the lull before the storm. We’ve got enough masks at the moment for between 3-4 days max. Our plea is for those at the highest level, they say there is enough stock, it just needs to be gotten out.’
NHS Dorset CCG advised the practice to go direct to PPE suppliers because the NHS supply chain cannot provide the kit they need at the moment. But the PPE suppliers approached by the surgery currently have no stock.
Dr Yule is concerned that as the Covid-19 situation escalates and patients are moved out of hospitals and cared for in the community, GPs will not have the necessary PPE to work safely.
She stated: ‘It may be that the PPE is out there in secondary care, which is where it absolutely should be first line. But it’s probably now time to take stock and think where is all that stock? And where does it need to be in the communities as well.’
A spokesperson for NHS Dorset CCG told Pulse: ‘We are working together with local, regional and national agencies to take all the necessary steps to ensure practices in Dorset have access to the most appropriate [PPE] for staff.’
The spokesperson added: ‘In line with national guidance, and in response to national supply pressures, we are supporting practices on sourcing PPE and working with our partners on this locally.
‘We are working closely with NHS England and Improvement and have been assured there is enough PPE including millions of masks, gloves, hand sanitisers and other kit making its way to the right place across the country over the next few days.’
Dr Yule added that it would be up to GPs to manage end-of-life care at home, and doctors must have the correct PPE to do that.
She said: ‘I think people are just really, really scared.’
GPs’ concerns were last week exacerbated by receiving seemingly out-of-date face masks as part of their PPE supplies from NHS England.
The BMA has warned doctors will die if the situation is not resolved, and the RCGP has also requested clarity.